The Free Press, Mankato, MN


November 18, 2013

News & Comment: Zimmerman anger; Nazi soldier

George Zimmerman, acquitted earlier this year in the Trayvon Martin murder case, was in the news again, this time for threatening his girlfriend with a shotgun.

He was arrested and charged with assault and battery. Read more here.

The naming protocol on the Associated Press wire has now changed for Zimmerman. The Associated Press likes to keep the same name or "slug" as we say in industry jargon, for continuing stories. So for the longest time, the coverage of the Trayvon Martin case was not called "Martin Murder Case" or even "Zimmerman Trial." It was called "Neighborhood Watch."

To me this was always a curious slug for this case and confusing as well. You could never find it on the wires in a search because it often didn't come up immediately if you typed in a more typical title that one would assume, like "Martin Murder" or "Zimmerman Trial."

Now, theyre calling the story "Zimmerman Arrest." Makes sense.

Because of the nationwide profile of the Zimmerman/Martin case, every time Zimmerman gets in trouble -- no matter how minor (not that this case was minor) he will be in the news. That's the nature of the business, right or wrong, people want to know more about his problems with the law, his anger management classes and other issues he might be having.

That because people continue to seek evidence for how they see the world. So whatever side of the Martin/Zimmerman case you might have been on, you'll look for these stories. And where there's demand for news, it will likely be supplied.

The news would have also followed Trayvon Martin for any minutia, had he still been alive. For some reason, the press tends to provide a little forgiveness after you're dead.

Nazi connections for Minneapolis man coming to light.

In another high profile case that broke Monday, the Associated Press has uncovered more World War II records on Michael Karkoc, a Minneapolis carpenter that an investigation in June found had been in the area of Nazi war crimes mostly in Poland when he was part of a Nazi affiliated military unit.

Today's story uncovered more records and rosters and testimony of Karkoc having participated in the killing of innocent women and children during a raid on a Polish city.

Karkoc's family made fierce denials to the AP story this summer, arguing their father was never in the city of the alleged massacre. The AP's new evidence involves soldier rosters and testimony from others in 1968 investigative file found in the Ukrainian intelligence archive. The records contained testimony of a private in Karkoc's unit confirming his participation in the massacre.

It's always amazing to me how records from decades ago can somehow be unearthed with tips from people who read stories that make their way around the world via the Internet. The AP said it was tipped off to the investigative file generated by Ukrainian authorities.

The AP said it "learned of the file's existence after its initial report and subsequently tracked down and reviewed its contents."

Says the AP story: "Other eyewitness accounts, both from villagers and members of Karkoc's unit, corroborate the testimony that the company set buildings on fire and gunned down more than 40 men, women and children. Michael Karkoc continues to live quietly in Minneapolis as he has for decades."

A former U.S. Justice Department Nazi prosecutor called these kinds of records highly credible and were likely to be used in the prosecution of Karkoc in Germany and Poland.


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